Cycles are hard to come by. Often times, a player misses out on one for any number of reasons, despite a good day at the plate. But it's not often a player can say he fell just short of a home run cycle.
Cole Gillespie almost did the highly implausible Friday, hitting a grand slam, a three-run shot and a solo homer in Triple-A Reno's 11-3 drubbing of Fresno. Had the outfielder been able to add just a two-run homer, he would have had a proverbial home run cycle.
Instead, the 28-year old had to "settle" for a mere three-homer, eight-RBI game. He put on the show with his father in attendance.
"I've had the makings of a game like that before, with the first two, but never finished it with the third," said Gillespie. "That was special. My dad got in town the other night and it was nice to do it while he was here, nice for him to see that."
Gillespie first hit a grand slam to right with two outs in the bottom of the first. He went opposite field on his second shot as well, a three-run blast the very next inning. He walked in the fourth before pulling a solo homer to left in the seventh.
While it capped what was a certainly a career day for the Oregon State University product, he admitted he would have had the home run cycle in the back of his mind had he gotten another chance at the plate.
"I was thinking about that, but I guess at the end of the day, I'm happy where I was," he said, adding, "but that would have been something to remember for a while."
Gillespie added he might've been aided a little by a windy Reno evening, but wasn't about to complain about it.
"I had some good swings, got a little help from the wind," he noted. "It was blowing out to right. But you play with your conditions, you take what you can."
In the end, the one game raised Gillespie's slugging percentage 40 points, from .428 before Friday to .468 after his three-homer outburst. His batting average also rose to .296 and his on-base percentage sits at .380. The 2006 third-round pick also raised his RBI total by a third, from 24 to 32.
He said one of the most memorable aspects was simply the setting of the game.
"It felt a little surreal running around the bases. My teammates were super pumped and excited. It was good to see them having fun. Overall, it was just a fun night. We had a great turnout, a sellout I think.
"It was one I'll remember for a while."
On Friday, No. 17 D-backs prospect Ryan Wheeler went 2-for-3 for the Aces with a double and two runs scored. Zach Kroenke (5-1) scattered two runs over five innings for the win.
On the Fresno side, No. 2 Giants prospect Francisco Peguero fell a home run short of the cycle and plated two runs.